Friday, April 25, 2008

Please Don't Leave Me Here!

What exactly is separation anxiety? I've been thinking about a couple of different possibilities.

Does JD fear that I will not return?

Is he scared of the situation he's in and needs my presence to have confidence?

Does JD love me so much that the thought of my leaving his side for even an hour scares him to tears?

Today, I took him to East Bank so that I could get a workout. The last couple of times that I brought him in, he cried the entire time and sat in a chair. But that was about four months ago, before he could walk.

At East Bank's daycare facility there are two areas. There is an infant area that is a room no bigger than 8x10. It has soft light, some swings, a rocker, and some jumpers as well as the regular run of toys. The toddler and older area is a much larger space. Different activities occupy the children's attention. They do art projects such as stamps and work with playdough. There is a TV with some sort of children's movie or PBS cartoon. on pretty much at all times. There are books and a train table. The children are not lacking.

We've been bringing him to East Bank since he was three or four months old. In selling our house, we didn't take him there for four or five months. Then when I brought him back, he couldn't stand it.

Now that JD can walk and be in the kids' area, I thought that he'd be happier. He started crying the second we stepped inside the daycare area. I stayed with him for about five minutes. There were a few boys playing by the train table. He joined them and seemed fine. I slowly got up and out of the room without being seen. Everything was groovy.

After changing, I peeked into the room. Though I couldn't hear him, he was obviously crying and being held by one of the caregivers. It didn't appear to be a complete meltdown, or he was getting over it, and so I went for a run.

Ten minutes later, my pager provided by the daycare started buzzing. I knew my workout was over. I went and hung out with him in the daycare until he calmed down, probably for twenty minutes. He would calm down and start having fun and forget about me for a minute, then he'd turn and start looking for me and start crying, even when he located me. I finally ran up to the locker room, changed, and came back to his bawling.

The reality is that I'm just going to have to keep bringing him back until he's confident enough for me to be gone. Will he know that I'm coming back or will he know that he's going to have fun while he's there?

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

NCAA Tournament

I think they should just have the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. Maybe the first two weeks.

For most of us, those are the only exciting times. There are games going on all the time. The promise of the picks you've made on your bracket (or brackets). Buzzer-beaters, Cinderellas, choke-artists, and overnight heroes.

As the second and third weekends come and go, though, the excitement has died down.

Yeah, yeah, if your school is in it or your brackets are lucky enough, it stays exciting. Perhaps you've taken an interest in the year's Cinderella story.

My wife was in love with Stephen Curry from Davidson. She loves the idea of smart kids excelling in sports.

The University of Arizona is my alma mater. They have been disappointing for a couple of seasons in a row. The only solace I could take was that their Tournament loss was to West Virginia who went pretty far.

But when the Final Four came up, I really could have cared less. Memphis was an interesting story, but they were a disappointment in the National Championship game. There was the fact that all four No. 1 seeds were in the Final Four. North Carolina did not make the Championship game.

And yet with all of that hoopla, I only watched because there was nothing else on TV.

But now, there's the NHL playoffs...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

15 months

Here I am, back from my writing hiatus. No, I was not part of the writer's strike. No, nothing tragic has happened. Simply put, I was not in a writing phase.

Here I am, ready to spill my guts once again.

JD is now 15 months old. He is walking full speed and only falls once or twice a day. The main culprits are obstacles like blocks, a chair legs, and my feet. (I can't help it - size 14. My wife doesn't complain, right Honeys?)

We have been battling diaper rash, stomach flu, and increased food distastes.

JD has a rash that began in Florida. A nice trip to Miami to visit Great Grandma, just a couple of days after a random late March blizzard. It was in the 70s and 80s the whole time. The first night, though, he had a hard time sleeping and was thrashing around and rubbing his butt. We found his butt to be red like a stop light. No amount of regular diaper rash ointment helped. The second night we finally gave up at 3am and drove up to Palm Beach and back so he could sleep, ending up at a diner for a 6:30am breakfast. That was Monday morning and we were finally able to call our home pediatrician to ask for help. We enjoyed the rest of the trip (and slept) but are still battling the rash.

The doctor believes he is getting over a stomach flu. Last Friday, he randomly threw up just before dinner. After waiting a bit, we gave him some more food that was promptly given back. The vomiting subsided, but diarrhea took over and is just beginning to fade. Can I tell you what a joy it is to change a diarrhea diaper on a squirming toddler whose butt, coincidentally, itches so badly that as soon as the diaper comes off, he tries to scratch his ass? Except that his ass is covered in the smelliest, yellow liquidy substance you've ever almost vomited over? Then he thrashes and rubs his hands through his hair. It is one of life's great pleasures. Plenty of pedialyte (acutally, the generic version at Osco. Can't beat 2 for $5.00.)

Food-wise, JD rarely eats vegetables of any kind. The occasional carrot or piece of corn. Gone are the days of broccoli and peas being gobbled up as happily as a nice piece of fish. Oh yeah, no fish, either. He prefers bread and anything breaded. His favorites: Tyson's breaded chicken tenders (3 lb. bag from Costco; they are awesome), and egg sandwiches with cheese on whole wheat. He loves fruit; especially strawberries, grapes, canteloupe, and bananas.

His communication skills improve everyday, as are my parenting skills. I am getting better at talking to him constantly. I've been told over and over to talk to him, but that was driven home by a website whose content mimics the information provided to pediatric therapists regarding children's milestones by age. It helped by saying specifically to constantly talk about whatever the child is doing at any given moment. That helps, because it's easier to describe and ask about what he's doing, rather than trying to talk about what's on my mind. He also accepts several verbal commands.

One example of his understanding verbal commands was with his stuffed animals. This morning at the pediatrician's office, he expressed anxiety upon entering the exam room. I took out his stuffed pig and told him, "Hug piggy." JD grabbed it and gave it a big hug. It was really sweet and really cute. He did the same at naptime to his teddy bear in his crib.

And these are the things that are happening with JD. More to come from me, as I strive to make my way as a man in a woman's world. Gymboree, public parks, and grocery shopping, oh my! Also, March Madness, NHL Playoffs, and Johnny's Ice House Playoffs, and the White Sox.